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Will You Be a Good Mother?

What are you like now?

Becoming a mom is a transforming experience. But the changes don't happen overnight. Anyone who tells you she's unchanged by it is "in deep denial or a coma," Lerner says. Motherhood is less like morphing into an all-new person than like getting a makeover. You look different, butit's the same you underneath.

I know. Much of my prebaby trepidation stemmed from the fact that I'd never really liked kids. Now I'm heart-stoppingly, mind-bendingly besotted with my own, but you won't find me joining in a game of Freeze Tag with their friends orvolunteering as a substitute teacher at preschool.

Most moms find that the core of their personality remains intact -- maybe worn a little softer or more patient in a few places, but certainly not unrecognizable. If you set high standards for yourself professionally, you'll probably expect a lot of your kids. If you like solitude, you'll look for ways to preserve it (though you'll have to make do with less). If you nag your spouse about wet towels on the floor, you can be pretty sure you'll nag your kids down the road.

There's no single way to mother. What matters most is that you feel secure with who you are and what you have to offer a child. That said, some traits are especially useful: tolerance, flexibility, patience, and good humor, to name a few. If your general style already flows in that direction, you're ahead ofthe game.